Twenty years ago, Yusuke Katayama flew to the Philippines to have a slice of his favorite sport, and ended up putting up a restaurant. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The story goes that when not doing his usual rounds of golf, Mr. Katayama would eat around the city, and notice that there were no authentic Japanese restaurants that were up to his par. A good critic of Japanese food would understandably be Japanese, and while locals appreciated the ‘sushi-tempura-donburi’ establishments, these places probably have lost the genuine Japanese touch along the way. Japanese fusion, Japanese fast food, Japanese dishes augmented to please the Filipino palate — while a handful may be appetizing, Mr. Katayama longs for the authenticity of Japanese cuisine, served at its finest.
And so, driven by his passion for food, he and his wife set out to give discerning diners the real deal – authentic Japanese Cuisine. Tsukiji Japanese first opened its doors along Pasay Road, and now, it has found a new home in Century Park Hotel, Manila.
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“Tsukiji is the biggest seafood market in Japan, located in Tokyo,” he explains. The fish, seafood and vegetables of Century Tsukiji are all from the said market, and this is the main reason why Century Tsukiji’s food offerings are made from the freshest quality ingredients. The Japanese know that Tsukiji is a high class seafood market, and that is why the restaurant is named after it.
The banner Japanese restaurant of the Century Park Hotel offers authentic Japanese dishes concocted with love and passion. Teppanyaki Chef Seiji Kamura talks about the restaurant and what makes their cuisine truly Japanese.
Take for instance their soups. The teppanyaki chef shares that they make good soup stock from the finest raw ingredients – this means getting rid of the ‘instants’, putting quality and finest flavors into a bowl of hot soup. “You can taste real noodles,” he proudly shares,
“We don’t use any ‘instant’ ingredient, so really, you can taste healthy Japanese food, real Japanese taste.”
Going With The Season
Another noteworthy fact about Century Tsukiji is how they conceptualized their menu. They have authentic Japanese food that coincide with the changes of the season. Each season in Japan (winter, spring, summer and autumn) is a period of change, where the markets offer different foods in season, to highlight the best catch for the period, and the best ways to cook and present these ingredients. “That’s basic in Japanese food recipe,” Chef Seiji explains.
Special Assorted Sashimi
Our culinary adventure began with sampling sushi and sashimi, and impressive is an understatement to describe the food. The Special Assorted Sashimi (P2,500) arrived in its summery presentation, with two goldfish swimming about underneath the glass plate, adding whimsy to its over-all look. This is definitely a conversation piece, one worthy of photo-ops.
I commend their Assorted Tempura (P600) for having a delectably crisp, golden coating that’s just thick enough to enjoy, without overpowering the shrimp’s fresh meat. I dip the tempura into its savory sauce, and then eat it along with some Fried Rice (P440), which Chef Seiji personally prepared for us that day. My appetite was more than pleased to take in all the flavors.
Ohmi Beef Teppanyaki
The Ohmi Beef Teppanyaki (200gm for P3,156.65) will definitely please the discerning carnivore in you. It may have a notably premium price, but it is deserving for this remarkable top-ranked Wagyu beef. Century Tsukiji has the finest selection of Wagyu Ohmi beef, imported directly from Japan. This premium quality beef is known for its superior marbling and melt-in-your-mouth factor, and said to be the top choice of Japanese royalties for hundreds of years.
Matcha Ice Cream
Ending the gustatory trip to Japan, we were served Matcha (Green Tea) Ice Cream (P250). It was a sweet and refreshing way to cool down our palates after indulging in so many flavors and textures for lunch.
Fresh quality ingredients straight from Japan, passionate Japanese chefs, and the drive to serve nothing but the best – these are the foundations of Century Tsukiji, and the assurance of experiencing a wonderful food adventure.
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